2019 Election and WaterAid: The Importance of The New Government Needing to Address WaterAid’s priorities

On the 12th December, the British public will vote for a new government that will bring a change of commitments and regulations. It is fundamental that whoever gets voted must maintain the standard of the UK being a world-leader in the international development of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

Since 1981, WaterAid has helped provide people in some of the toughest parts of the globe with clean water, decent toilets and fundamental hygiene. They work consistently to bring change to peoples lives with the fundamental human rights that we should all be given: clean water. Not only does this charity work closely with local organisations to supply these needs. As well as advocating the need for change to governments to implement laws and to create networks to make change happen to the worlds water supply.  The WaterAid’s ‘vision is a world where everyone, everywhere has safe water, toilets and hygiene (WASH).

As WaterAid demonstrates, the UK government has committed to invest 0.7% of the UK’s national income on overseas development, and this must continue. The New government needs to focus on poverty reduction and meeting the SDGs.  There is a vital need to keep the Department of International Development independent with its own Secretary of state, so we can increase the accessibility of the global population to clean water and help create a more sustainable world.


Why should we care?

During the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), it was proclaimed that ‘the improvement in water resources management and access to water supply and sanitation services are essential to addressing various social and economic inequalities.’ The United Nations World Development Report ‘Leaving no one behind’ was launched for this particular purpose. There is an emphasis that everyone should share the enjoyment of benefits that water provides and it has to be clear that this is a human right.

Well, it is simple; we need to care, as we all have the same rights to clean water and efficient sanitations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) ‘785 million people lack even a basic drinking- water service, including 144 million people who are dependent on surface water.’ Both the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and many states proclaim that safe drinking water and sanitation are seen as fundamental human rights. This means that WaterAid’s commitments are necessary in manifestos and should be seen as a priority.

WaterAid has managed to help 1.8 billion people gain access to clean water and 2.1. billion with decent toilets facilities since 2000. Their plan is to make sure that every being on this planet has access to clean water but with the current rate of progression, WaterAid has calculated that it will not be achievable until 2060. This is why it is vital for the new government to have a commitment to Water and sanitations development to increase the rate of progression.

Tackling world poverty has its rewards. The first is obvious, with poverty levels decreasing, human rights will increase. Secondly, as the World Health Organisation portrays, in current LDCs, ‘22% of health care facilities have no water service, 21% no sanitation service, and 22% no waste management service.’ Moreover, water being contaminated with harmful bacteria results in transmitted diseases. It is estimated that contaminated drinking water causes 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths every year. If we can tackle the water and sanitation crisis, we can increase the life expectancies in Less Developed Countries, that will be a catalyst to solving other problems like domestic infrastructures. 


The three commitments that WaterAid asks for the new government.

1. Clean Water and sanitation as a global development priority


The UK has helped almost 52 million people reach water and proficient sanitations and this must continue. The new government should implement the role of WASH in eradicating poverty, as well as building infrastructure in prosperous societies, along with human development like health and education.


2. Climate action with household water at the heart of resilience plans


Already a hot topic in Politics, climate change has had an impact on many countries, in particular to the water cycle. In recent events, we have seen cases of frequent flooding or prolonged drought and forest fires. WaterAid emphasises how there is s a heavy need for equal prioritisation of adaptation of migration. As well as, a new effort that includes water as a ‘basic human need in its own right.’ WaterAid acknowledges that the UK will be hosting the COP26 in Glasgow in 2020, but we should continue to influence support to countries that are in desperate need for WASH plans. There is a call for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to use the Overseas Aid Budget (ODA) to support and deliver funding to climate change actions that are ‘in line with the UK’s commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.


3. An integrated approach to WASH and Health to tackle global health Challenges


As stated above, there is a need for the new government to see these commitments due to the number of deaths related to unclean water and a lack of sanitation services. WaterAid proclaims how it is ‘fundamental to universal health coverage, [it] improves the efficacy of vaccinations and is the frontline of defence in infection prevention control.’ There is a need for WASH to be implemented in global health strategies and as a world- leader on global health, the UK has a big impact. WaterAid implies how ‘the UK must encourage other Governments and donors on the international stage, by committing to prioritise WASH within health investments, including at the Gavi Replenishment and Nutrition for Growth in 2020.’


It is vital that these commitments are met and that’s where you can help. WaterAid is asking us to put some pressure on parliamentary candidates to sign a pledge that puts Water, Sanitations and Hygiene on the political agenda. Here’s the link with more information and how to do it: https://www.wateraid.org/uk/email-your-candidates. Having access to clean water and efficient sanitations and hygiene should not be a luxury but a basic right and we as part of a world-leading country can change this.